Stewart feels right at home in the Sierra
The mountains are like a second home to Kordell Stewart.
After spending four years in the Rocky Mountain town of Boulder, Colo. as the quarterback for the Colorado University Buffaloes, Stewart moved onto the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers and for seven years he has been feeling the pull of the mountains.
Now, at this week’s American Century Celebrity Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, Stewart feels right at home – despite this being his first time in the tournament.
“It reminds me a lot of Colorado,” he said. “This is my first time here and the area is beautiful with all the pine trees.”
Stewart was one of the early arrivals for the three-round tournament that begins Friday. Others seen practicing at Edgewood included Mario Lemieux, Dan Quinn, Pierre Larouche, Mike Eruzione, Kevin Nealon, Davey Johnson and Ivan Lendl.
Stewart and his father joined three others in a leisurely round of golf.
Nicknamed “Slash” for his ability to play both quarterback and wide receiver, Stewart has played golf for just four years. He routinely pumped 250-plus yard drives and gave tips to his group throughout the round.
“He taught me how to hit an inch behind the ball when I was in the sand trap,” said group member Linda Falba of San Mateo, Calif.
Stewart was very affable coming up the 18th fairway, shrugging off a poor second shot to stick his approach shot pin-high on the left side of the green.
Before knocking his first putt of about 15 feet to within inches, he took time to show the correct line to another member of his group, Sheila Falbo of Milwaukee.
“I didn’t know who he was at first,” she said. “I had to ask what team he played for.
“I think I was the only one who didn’t know who he was.”
That made little difference to Stewart, who has plans to enjoy his first tournament at Edgewood.
“I had the opportunity to take a little vacation before I have to go back to the real work next week,” he said.
While many of this week’s contestants treat this tournament as the crown jewel of the Celebrity Golf Tour, Stewart said he is here just to play golf and enjoy his time here.
“With a group like you have here and how good they play, you can’t worry about it that much,” he said. “This is the only event I’m playing this summer, Mario Lemieux’s tournament, so it’s just good time to hang out with my friends and fellow state natives.”
One of the reasons why he chose this week’s event is the area and the way the community embraces it.
“Lemieux’s tournament always has a great turnout and I’ve heard about how the people here turn out for this one,” he said. “It’s all about the turnout for me.”
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